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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:11 am 
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Hi all,

Are there any parents with dyslexic children at Dartford Grammar? How do they cope? Is the school supportive?

I guess it may have been easier for dyslexic children to get into grammar school with the old test. I guess the new test which includes English would have been harder for dyslexics.

Many thanks.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:41 pm
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I can't specifically answer your question but have read your similar Bexley post and thought I would post our experiences in Kent in case it helps.

My DD is Year 6 and dyslexic. When we went to school open evenings we immediately headed for the special needs department to chat about how they dealt with dyslexia and if they had cases in the school at the moment etc. Then when we toured the classrooms we asked teachers (especially English and Languages) how they dealt with the issue. We were usually given our own tour guide rather than sharing with another family as our needs were a little different to following the standard tour.

In talking to the staff you do get a feeling for how the school deals with dyslexia and they were able to give examples and advice to us. I must admit, the grammar schools (all girls) we visited, were all places I would have been happy to send my DD to. They know the child is already bright to be at their school so you aren't competing for resources with those who are really struggling.

My experiences of visiting non grammars were not as favourable. I guess this is because they have a whole spectrum of special needs (even just within dyslexia) ranging from those that can't read at all, to those brighter children who can't get ideas on paper and have awful spelling but may already be above the level expected for their age.

Unfortunately for us we failed the Kent test by 1 mark in English. Aggregate was comfortably over 320. If only we had the old test or she was 2 months younger.......
We will probably appeal in March, but it will be for oversubscription as well as failing the test. Everything seems to be an uphill struggle.

My parting advice is talk to the school special needs workers and see how you feel. Also, some of these roles are only part time so it can be worth asking about how often they are in the school.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:03 pm 
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Hi Mehere,

Thanks a lot for sharing your experience. At the moment I am trying to help a friend whose child is severely dyslexic but very bright. With the introduction of the new Kent test this is what I thought would happen to more than one dyslexic child. I do hope that your daughter gets through on appeal. The appeal section here is excellent and the moderators very helpful. I would start reading all the material, if you haven't already done so, for when the time comes you are ready to appeal. Kent have a good track record of appeals.

Did your daughter have extra time or any sort of special arrangement during the test?

It is very interesting what you say about visiting the non grammar schools.

I am sure, however, that there must be dyslexic children who are currently attending. My friend's worry is how her son will cope when already at school. This is of course assuming that he passes the test. I feel she is doubting whether to continue with the preparation if when he gets to school he would have no support.

I would still love to hear from someone whose dyslexic child is already at Dartford Grammar.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:10 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:41 pm
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Thanks salsa

I have already started ploughing through all the appeal material and I'm sure I will be posting in the appeals section when I have finished.

Kent awarded DD 10% extra time for the written assessment (just looked at if there is a Head Teacher review). She was allowed to use coloured overlays but no other allowances were given i.e. no additional time for the tests. I know you are interested in Bexley too - they awarded 25% extra time for the tests and allowed use of coloured overlays.

I too would be very keen to see any responses to your original question as I worry about how dyslexic children cope at grammar.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:11 pm 
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Hi Mehere,
It seems you are doing the right thing already preparing for the appeal.

10% for the written composition? That sounds a bit weird as the composition only gets read on Headteachers' review. The 25% of time given by Bexley for the whole test seems more appropriate. Did she have to take the test at a separate room? I think being allowed more time in from of your peers may make some children feel a little self conscious and to the other children think it is not fair.

How did your daughter feel?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 1:16 pm 
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For Kent the test was taken the same day as everyone else (Saturday at a Kent Grammar as we are OOC). She sat the whole test with just the other people who had 10% extra time (4 of them?) for the written assessment. When they registered on the Saturday morning they were given a group number. The rest of her school class were also there and they thought it strange as to why she had a different group number to them (the rest were all together). My DD just said this was the group number she was given, I think they were all too nervous to worry why it was different and my DD didn't want to offer the reason. We had no idea what the arrangements would be in advance.

For Bexley we knew in advance that DD would sit the test at a special session for children with additional needs. This year it was at Townley (we are OOC again) it may be different if you attend a Bexley school. There were 15 or 20 children (boys and girls) at this session all sitting in the hall together and all getting 25% extra time. A few children were individually taken off before they went in, presumably they had individual requirements to be on their own. The 'normal' Bexley tests were scheduled for 2 days (a Tues and a Weds) and you were assigned one half day. The special needs test was scheduled for the Thursday, the day after the other tests had finished.

Good luck to your friend, if they have started preparing for the 11+ my advice would be to try and stick it out and sit the tests. I must confess I have had moments when I have thought should we have gone through with it/was it worth it. So far everyone has managed to convince me I did do the right thing. If I hadn't done it I would never have known and who knows we may be lucky at appeal and if not, we tried. It will keep the options open and I think there will always be an element of struggle for dyslexics, whatever school you go to.

Am happy to answer by PM any specific queries your friend may have (especially nearer the time) as sometimes information was sparse. I didn't know anyone who had gone through the process when we did it, but it would have been helpful if I had.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 1:34 pm 
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Hi Mehere,

Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It does seem that Bexley have a much better arrangement than Kent. I will let my friend know. I have heard that some dyslexic children are not deemed to be "dyslexic enough" to get the extra time! My friend's son is severely dyslexic, so I expect she will have no trouble obtaining the extra time.

I understand parents of dyslexic children having doubts about 11+ preparation, but to be honest, I think most of us, especially OOC, have similar concerns. If the child gets a place at a grammar school, then all is fine, if not, then there might be confidence issues and feelings of failure that can excessively afflict some children.

Good luck with your appeal. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained"


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:38 pm 
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Just a thought, but did Kent give extra time to anyone in the actual elements of the test that were marked?
Only I haven't actually heard of anyone succeeding on this so far, just the pointless writing piece.
Surely the new English part alone would have made some sense?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:28 pm
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Sorry to hijack this post but I was wondering if anyone had any tips on 11+ prep for dyslexics?

Obviously the are issues with very specific VR type questions mostly those using spellings and homophones and similar on English questions, does anyone have any dyslexic specific advice as opposed to the usual 11+ familiarisation.

We have started trying to address spelling by going back to basics and memorising graphemes but I am not sure about this approach.

Many, many thanks in advance for any help on this.


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